Video game publisher Electronic Arts is removing Russian teams from its soccer and hockey video games amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In two announcements Tuesday, EA Sports, the sports division of Electronic Arts, announced that it would be pulling the Russian national and club soccer teams from its 2022 line of FIFA games, and the Russian and Belarusian national and club hockey teams from its NHL 22 video game, after the governing bodies that oversee the two sports suspended Russian teams from international competition.
“EA SPORTS stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine,” EA Sports FIFA said in a statement posted to its official Twitter account. “In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA SPORTS has initiated processes to remove the Russian National Team and all Russian clubs from EA SPORTS FIFA products including: FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online. We’re also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games. We will keep our communities up to date on any actions taken, and thank players for their patience as we work through these updates.”
A statement from EA SPORTS FIFA: pic.twitter.com/v3pZvpblgS
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) March 2, 2022
EA Sports NHL followed with an announcement shortly afterward on its own Twitter page. “Following the IIHF’s suspension of all Russian and Belarusian national and club teams from IIHF competitions, we will be removing these teams from NHL 22 within the coming weeks,” the publisher said. “We stand with the people of Ukraine and join the voices around the world calling for peace.”
A statement from EA SPORTS NHL: pic.twitter.com/2uX4h55ok4
— EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) March 2, 2022
EA joins a growing list of companies that have taken action against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine late last month, including credit card giants Visa and Mastercard, as well as international oil companies BP and Shell.
On Monday, both the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), which oversees European soccer competitions, and International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the international governing body for the sport, banned Russian soccer teams from all competitions. “Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures, FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice,” UEFA and FIFA said in a joint statement.
“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine,” the statement continued. “Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.”
Additionally, the International Ice Hockey Federation banned all Russian and Belarusian National and Club teams from participating in all IIHF competitions or events in every age category. The hockey governing body also withdrew the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship from Russia. In the U.S., the National Hockey League suspended its relationships with Russian business partners and announced a pause for its Russian-language social and digital media sites. The NHL also removed Russia from consideration as a location for any future NHL competitions.
A number of other sports leagues have taken action against Russia, including the International Olympic Committee, Formula One, and national soccer federations for Sweden, Poland, and the Czech Republic.